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Vaginal Itch and Burning After Sex

Several Types of Vaginal Conditions Can Cause Itching and Burning

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Updated December 05, 2011

(LifeWire) - Question: What does it mean if I have itching and burning after sex?

Answer: Since these symptoms are not normal effects of sexual intercourse, itching and burning are signals that something is amiss in the vagina.

Several types of vaginal conditions can cause itching and burning, especially various infections, although not all of them are linked to sex. Here are some conditions:

  • Yeast infections: Itching and burning are two of many possible symptoms of a yeast infection, which is also known as candidiasis and is quite common. Other symptoms include a curd-like, thick, white vaginal discharge and swelling of the labia, the lips around the vagina. Yeast infections can sometimes be spread through sex, but not always, because virginal girls can get yeast infections also. Otherwise, your partner may also be suffering from an itchy genital rash. If you suspect a yeast infection but have never had one before, see your doctor. Those who have repeat yeast infections may use over-the-counter (OTC) antifungal creams or vaginal suppository treatments.

    See: Getting Rid of Yeast Infections

  • Trichomoniasis:  A single-celled parasite that can also live in men's prostate glands, trichomoniasis can cause frothy, yellow-green vaginal discharge as well as itching. It cannot be treated with OTC products, so see your doctor if you suspect trichomoniasis is causing your symptoms.

    See: Trichomoniasis Treatments

  • Vaginitis: A nonspecific term that means inflammation of the vagina. Vaginitis can result from sexual intercourse or any other factor that disrupts the normal balance of the vagina, which contains bacteria that help cleanse the vagina and keep it naturally moist.

    See: Things to Know About Vaginitis

  • Vaginal irritation: Intercourse-related factors that can cause vaginal irritation, itching and burning may include the use of cream and jelly spermicides or other vaginally inserted contraceptives, including the sponge. Also, menopausal women, whose lower estrogen levels sometimes cause vaginal thinning and drying, may find sex especially irritating to the vagina. OTC vaginal creams that increase lubrication during sex may help.

    See: Self-Help and Prevention Tips for Vaginal Itching

  • Allergic reactions: Much less common than infections, allergies can also cause vaginal itching and burning after sex. Women can sometimes be allergic to semen, a situation that can vary from partner to partner depending on the particular proteins contained in the seminal fluid of each. First documented in 1958 in Germany, semen allergies are difficult to track because of the private nature of the symptoms, which women may not choose to discuss with their doctors. After ruling out infection, women who suspect they are allergic to their partner's semen can try using condoms during intercourse. If her previous post-sex symptoms disappear, semen allergy is likely to be the culprit.

    See: Semen Allergies

Condoms themselves, however, can also cause after-intercourse itching and burning in women who are allergic to latex, the natural rubber used to make most condoms. People who are latex-sensitive will often discover this through exposure during other experiences, such as medical procedures involving latex gloves. Since latex allergies can be serious -- even causing life-threatening symptoms, such as breathing difficulties -- women with this condition are advised to use special latex-free condoms or entirely use other types of contraceptives.

See: How to Find the Best Condom

Sources:

Reddy, Sumana. "Latex Allergy." aafp.org. 1998. American Academy of Family Physicians. 6 Jan. 2009 <http://www.aafp.org/afp/980101ap/reddy.html>.
"Seminal Fluid." aaaai.org. 10 Feb. 2003. American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology. 6 Jan. 2009 <http://www.aaaai.org/aadmc/ate/category.asp?cat=1145>.
"Vaginal Discharge and Irritation." uschu.staywellsolutionsonline.com. 13 April 2006. University of Southern California University Hospital. 6 Jan. 2009 <http://uscuh.staywellsolutionsonline.com/Library/Encyclopedia/2,515>.
"Vaginal Itching." nih.gov. 9 Nov. 2007. National Library of Medicine. 6 Jan. 2009 <http://medlineplus.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003159.htm>.
"Vaginitis: Causes and Treatments." acog.org. July 2005. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. 6 Jan. 2009 <http://www.acog.org/publications/patient_education/bp028.cfm?printerFriendly=yes>.


LifeWire, a part of The New York Times Company, provides original and syndicated online lifestyle content. Maureen Salamon is a New Jersey-based freelance writer whose work has appeared in a variety of online and print publications.

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